Moving Abroad Checklist 2021: Planning Your International Move

Let’s be honest, there’s hardly anything as exciting as moving abroad. But beware! Moving can easily become stressful if you’re not well organized. To help you stay on track and make sure your experience isn’t tainted by stress, we’ve prepared a moving abroad checklist which outlines from A to Z everything you need to prepare for your move —check it out below!

It probably comes without saying that you won’t get very far if your legal documents are not in check. So, one of the most important steps when planning your international move is making sure all your paperwork is ready to go!

Keep in mind that this not only includes gathering all the important documents you currently have, but also applying for any permit/document your new country of residency might request. Below are some examples of essential documents:

  • Passport;
  • Birth certificate;
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable);
  • Work/study visa and other related permits;
  • Academic records;
  • Employment records;
  • Medical and dental records;
  • Financial records;
  • Insurance policies;
  • Driving license.

In case you’ve decided to take your furry friend along with ya’ on your move, we recommend that you first check what are the entry requirements for animals in the country you’re moving to. As well, ensure you have the following documents arranged before your move:

Research, Research, and More Research

When making the big step of moving to a whole different country, you’d probably want to know a few things about the area you’re moving to. One cannot simply move without knowing what are the best restaurants to try! But, on a more serious note, we recommend that you check out the following:

  • Living costs in the area (e.g.: food costs, average utility costs);
  • Housing market;
  • Job opportunities (if applicable);
  • Transportation options;
  • Appealing schools for your kids;
  • Medical facilities.

Woman filling out moving space calculator on laptop

Fixin’, Sortin’, and Sellin’

After you’ve gotten the basic research out of the way, it’s time to figure out what you’ll be doing with both your home and your household goods. Heads up, more organizing is yet to come, so stay strong! So, we recommend keeping the following in mind:

  • Home repairs: Time to get your hands dirty and make sure you fix everything that needs to be fixed before moving out! This is particularly important if you’re currently renting, as it can ensure that you’ll get all of your security deposit back.
  • Sort: It’s smart to go through every room in your house and decide which belongings you want to bring along and which you’d rather get rid off. Tip!: Have a lot of things you’d like to get rid off? Give garage sales and online marketplaces a try! 😉 
  • Vehicle arrangements: Decide whether you’d like to sell your vehicle or ship it to your new home. In case of the latter, make sure you notify your mover about it.
  • Set up your house for rent or sale: If you currently own a property, decide whether you’d like to sell it or rent it and contact a real estate agency to arrange such.

Find Out the Volume of Your Move

crucial step when planning your move abroad is to calculate the total volume of your move. Providing this to moving companies guarantees that you’ll get accurate moving quotestrust us, this will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises!

Tip!: Unsure how exactly to calculate the volume of your move? Don’t worry, our handy and easy-to-use moving space calculator is here to help! 😉

Moving Abroad Checklist 2020: Planning Your International Move

Select an International Mover

Unless you’re some sort of magician (and hey, you might be!), it’s of course nearly impossible to perform an international move without the help of an international moving company. So, a crucial step in your international moving checklist is to request multiple moving quotes and compare among international movers! We recommend that you start requesting quotes at least 3 to 2 months prior to your moving date.

Wondering where to start? Check out our top 8 international moving companies page if you’d like to know which companies, according to our judgement, are the best international movers of 2020!

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Arrange Your Healthcare

No matter how fit and healthy you are, it’s always good that you are covered by a health insurance. So, another important item to tick off your moving abroad checklist is making sure you take out a health insurance policy. We recommend that you:

  • Healthcare system: Navigating your own country’s healthcare system can even sometimes be tricky, so make sure you research well the healthcare system of your country of destination!
  • Health insurance: If a local health insurance isn’t your thing, we recommend researching the possibility of taking out an international health insurance policy.
  • Medication: Just in case you might be taking prescription medicine, check that they’re legal in your country of destination. If this is the case, the next step is to research how to obtain them.

Let’s Talk Money

Sorting out your finances before the big move is definitely something that cannot be forgotten! For the most part, there are a few things you will be able to get done prior to your international move. Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:

  • Checking the tax implications of moving overseas. Keep in mind that as a U.S citizen, your income will be subjected to US taxes no matter where you reside… one cannot escape taxes after all.
  • Assessing what your tax situation will be in your new destination.
  • Opening a local bank account in your country of destination and transferring your money over.
  • Deciding whether to close or maintain open your current bank account.

Moving Abroad Checklist 2020: Planning Your International Move

Travel Arrangements

One of the most exciting parts of your international move will most likely be finally booking your flight! But, remember that it’s crucial that you make sure your passport is up to date you don’t want to be stranded at the airport on your big day!

We often recommend that you book your international flight a few months in advance. The further away your booking date is to the date you’re planning on traveling, the cheaper the flight will be.

Making your moving date and the arrival date of your belongings coincide can be a bit tricky. Because of this, it might be smart to arrange temporary accommodation for your first nights in your country of destination. It goes without saying that this is particularly important if you haven’t bought or rented a property in this new place!

Tip!: If you’re looking for affordable flights, sites like SkyScanner and Kayak can be of great help!

Ring ‘Em Up!

Hang in there, we’re almost done! It’s important that you’re aware there are certain institutions you must ring up and notify them about your international move, including:

  • Your bank;
  • Loan providers;
  • Insurance companies;
  • The U.S Postal Service;
  • The Social Security Administration;
  • Tax agencies;
  • Your employer (if applicable).

Final Moving Preparations

As your moving date gets closer, there are certain things you will still probably need to tick off your moving abroad checklist. Although a tad tedious, remember these are the last steps before you start off your life somewhere new! 😉

  • Collect boxes: Start collecting free boxes at supermarkets and other local stores –they’re often happy to hand them out for free, but make sure they’re sturdy enough!
  • Order packing supplies: Order the packing supplies that you might not be able to get for free, such a plastic wraptape and speciality containers.
  • Get started: Get a head start by packing items from each room that aren’t frequently used. As days pass, start packing up more day-to-day items.
  • Label: Make sure that you label every single box that you pack. Include things such as what it contains and the room in your house it will belong to.
  • Gather valuables: Gather all important documents and valuables, such as birth certificates, passports and jewelry, so you can carry them personally with you the day of your move.
  • Deep clean: Give your house a good deep clean to ensure you only need to do minimal clean-up the upcoming days before your move. Want to make your cleaning extra fun? Check out this playlist and thank us later!
  • Cancel subscriptions and utilities: Make sure to cancel all subscriptions and utilities with sufficient time before your move.
  • Forward mail: Make the necessary arrangements at the post office to have your mail forwarded to your new home address.

Tip!: If you have any non-perishable goods you’d rather not take with you, you can donate them to NGOs like Move for Hunger!

Moving Abroad Checklist 2020: Plan Your International Move

Last Minute Arrangements

We’re warning you firsthand, the last couple days before your moving date can be quite chaotic to say the least. So, keep in mind these last few things you’d definitely want to check-off your moving abroad checklist right before your move:

  • Contact the mover to double-check the details of your move;
  • Confirm your flight;
  • Finish up packing essentials;
  • Make an inventory list of final boxes so you can easily assess whether everything arrived at its destination;
  • Withdraw cash (the currency of your country of destination) to make sure you’d be prepared for any emergencies;
  • Have a final walk through your house to make sure everything that needed to you wished to move has been packed;
  • Get ready for moving day by ensuring you have a carry-on packed with essentials and valuables.

Next Steps

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of this seemingly endless list! 😉 We recommend that during your move you come back to this moving overseas checklist regularly to ensure you won’t forget anything important! In case you’d like to continue expanding your moving expertise so you can be fully prepared for your move abroad, check out the following pages: